Welcome to another edition of ‘Marty's Musings', my weekly column of numbers summarizing the past week in Major League Baseball. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the prior week and the upcoming matchups to watch, identifying numbers that are generally not found in a standard box score.
Hisashi Iwakuma looked like a starter of old this week. Meanwhile Troy Tulowitzki hasn't lost a game he's started in about a month. The Yankees bats were silent for most of the week, and we set a new record for young talent. It's all in this week's Musings.
Here are this week's numbers ‘Beyond the Box Score':
Photo Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
40.5 - In his no hitter against the Orioles Wednesday, Iwakuma threw only 40.5 percent of his pitches in the strike zone ---- the lowest strike percentage of any game he's started in his career. He broke a streak of 11 consecutive no hitters thrown by National League pitchers. Iwakuma faced 30 batters and walked three; the last American League no hitter was Felix Hernandez's perfecto against the Rays in August 2012. At least M's fans have something to latch onto this season.
52 - Total rookie wins above replacement per FanGraphs, a new record....and counting. Earlier this season I wrote about the renaissance of young pitching and hitting talent that is flooding Major League Baseball to the delight of fans. Well, despite the fact that we haven't even completed August, rookies have set a new record for amassed value. Last week young-ins passed the 1987 rookie class as THE MOST valuable group of rookies to take the field in a season. What a time to be alive.
15 - Wins for home teams Tuesday night. It took some late inning magic as the Yankees blew a save (see below) and the Orioles lost to the Mariners in 10 innings. This was the first time in history home teams went 15-0 on the same day.
45 - Number of wins for the Mets out of 52 total games in which they score at least four runs. With the addition of Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Uribe, and Kelly Johnson (I know, right?), the Mets offense has woken up considerably. New York swept the Rockies in a four-game set in which they scored 23 runs. Against the second best team in the NL, the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York scored only six runs in a three-game Bucco sweep.
.189 - Batting average for opponents against Zack Greinke. Greinke has been phenomenal despite getting roughed up by the Phillies a couple weeks ago. To put those numbers into perspective, Greinke himself has posted a batting average of .226 this season, complemented by yet another home run on Sunday. We don't often highlight average on this site, but this stat is so telling I wanted to include it.
61 - Starts in which Clayton Kershaw has not allowed an earned run. In his most recent start, he blanked the Nationals in a 3-0 Dodgers win. Kershaw has started only 231 games in his career, so that would be over a quarter of his starts without allowing an earned run. Yeah...that's uhhh...quite good. The Dodgers are lucky to have him and Kershaw because the back end of the rotation has been nothing short of a disaster.
3 - Hits the Cleveland Indians mustered off Andrew Miller on Tuesday. Miller blew the save, and this was the first time he had given up three hits in one inning since April 2014. This compounded the Yankees woes, as Tuesday looked to be a bright spot. Prior to a Stephen Drew bomb, the Yankees went 31 innings without scoring a run.
2 - Streaks of ten or more wins in a row for the Toronto Blue Jays. Troy Tulowitzki did not lose a game he started between July 27th and August 14th. Only seven teams in history have strung together two winning streaks of ten or more games, the last being the 1954 Indians. All seven of those teams went to the World Series, but the playoff format was less of a gauntlet and the best team in the league automatically got into the World Series. The Jays lost the first two games of a three game series against the Yankees this weekend but salvaged the series finale. Toronto and New York are essentially tied atop the AL East.
11 - Walkoff wins for the Cubs, who walked it off against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday. Chicago has the third best record in the NL but sit in third place behind the Cardinals and Pirates. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports wrote an interesting piece in which he suggested Major League Baseball should scrap the divisions because of a possible scenario where the second- and third-best teams battle for the wild card advancement while the fourth and fifth best teams cruise into the playoffs. Prior to Wednesday's walkoff in which Matt Garza went seven innings, no opposing starting pitcher in the previous eight games made it out of the sixth inning.
38 - Strikeouts between Madison Bumgarner walks. He had not walked a batter in his previous three starts when Bumgarner walked Jayson Werth in the third inning on Sunday.
What to Watch
Photo Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
We're in the dog days now, and it will be interesting to see what pitchers keep up their torrid performances and which begin to bump up against innings limits or simply break down. There are several divisions still up for grabs (possibly all but the AL Central). Here are some of this week's fun matchups to highlight.
Monday, August 17
Jake Odorizzi (TB) v. Scott Kazmir (HOU)
Kazmir kicked off the trading season, seemingly 500 trades ago, and Houston is battling with Anaheim for the AL West division lead. In his first two starts with the Astros Kazmir went 14.2 innings without giving up a run. In his last two, he has yet to make it out of the sixth inning and has given up seven runs, three earned, with all three coming on solo shots. The Rays are still very much alive in the wild card race being only a handful of games behind the second wild card. Odorizzi has put up a 2.2 fWAR and has cut his career walk rate by about two percent. He has an 82 ERA- and an 86 FIP-.
Tuesday, August 18
Jacob deGrom (NYM) v. Kevin Gausman (BAL)
Jacob deGrom is certain to get some Cy Young votes this season and has cemented an ‘Ace' status with a burgeoning Mets team. He has already accumulated a 4.2 fWAR, an adjusted ERA 44 percent below league average, and an adjusted FIP 32 percent lower than league average. In his last start, he struck out ten Colorado Rockies - his fourth start of the year with double digit Ks. The Orioles meanwhile are the quietest team currently in the playoffs. It doesn't seem like they are getting much press, yet they are in the thick of the wild card race. The O's have the fourth-worst FIP and eight-worse ERA in the majors. To break loose from the other wild card contenders, their starting pitchers will have to improve.
Thursday, August 20
Chris Archer (TB) v. Collin McHugh (HOU)
Much like the Orioles, the Rays are not entirely out of the postseason race despite not getting much press. Tampa is only 2.5 games out of the second wild card spot. Chris Archer has been one of the best pitchers in the American League and currently leads the AL in strikeouts. The Astros are vying for the American League West lead. McHugh has issues when facing batters the first time in games but is coming off one of his best starts of the year against the Tigers in which he went seven innings and gave up only one run.
Friday, August 21
Shelby Miller (ATL) v. Jake Arrieta (CHC)
Miller took a no hitter into the eight inning against the Diamondbacks. He threw seven innings, struck out 10, and gave up one run. The Cubs meanwhile had a nine-game win streak coming to a crashing halt against Chris Sale on Sunday. The Cubs have the third-best record in the National League but are in third place behind the Cardinals and Pirates in the NL Central.
Friday, August 21
Chris Sale (CHW) v. Felix Hernandez (SEA)
Speaking of Chris Sale, he'll go up against one of the best pitchers in baseball, who is coming off another stinker. King Felix is having a terrific season overall, but interspersed are some clunkers that are quite atypical for the King. Over the weekend Felix did not make it out of the third inning against the Red Sox. He gave up ten (!!) earned runs in 2.1 innings, including three home runs. He looks to rebound against a White Sox team that is fifth worth in the majors by wRC+.
*All matchups and pitching probables as of Sunday evening
Steven Martano is an Editor at Beyond the Box Score and a Contributing Prospect Writer for the Colorado Rockies at Purple Row. You can follow him on Twitter at @SMartano.